SUMMARY: Pharma is just a business and according to a report from Harvard Business Scool “business as a whole engages in politics in ways that are bad for public trust in business and bad for America”.
Walk into the lobby of any pharma company headquarters and you’re likely to see a bunch of company mission statements. The problem with these mission statements is that they are all garbage.
According to the report from Harvard Business School ““we had this wonderful recovery. It could have given us the chance to take some significant resources and devote them to some of our well-known challenges, like infrastructure or health care…none of that happened. Instead, we squandered a major economic recovery and didn’t use it to make things better,\”.
The report highlights the opioid crisis as an example. “You know why the opioid crisis happened in America? Because the political system and lobbying by the opioid production industry – they spent so much money that they defeated various ballot initiatives and they were able to overturn a lot of the regulatory ideas to control the prescriptions of opioids”.
Want proof? STAT News reported “lawmakers quietly tucked a boost for the pharmaceutical industry in the massive, end-of-year spending package they unveiled late Monday — a surprising turn for a Congress that has, at least rhetorically, pushed to rein in pharma’s high prices. The provision, just three lines and 17 words in an 1173-page bill would effectively expand the definition of biologic drugs, a category that includes presumably more complicated medicines made from living cells. Biologics get 12 years of patent protection, while so-called small-molecule medicines get five years, and the expansion would mean more new drugs would fit into the more-protected category”. In short, it means more profits for pharma companies.
Lobbying To Keep Profits High
Most of the biggest lobbying donations in the first half of 2019 have gone to Republicans, who control the Senate and tend to be more reluctant to restrict drugmakers. And even those who do not serve on committees that oversee the industry or represent states with significant industry ties have benefited from drugmaker cash this year.
Senator McConnell, who said the drug pricing bill will be dead on arrival in the Senate ” has seen an uptick in donations from pharma: He received more than $85,000 during the first half of the year, a record for him over the course of the past eight years.
STAT News said, “top pharmaceutical CEOs have targeted a small group of Republican senators with roughly $200,000 in campaign donations in the past year, according to a STAT review of campaign finance disclosures”.
What does this all mean?
It means that drug prices are going to remain high and drug companies will peddle their propaganda that they need the money for innovation. It means that patients who can’t afford medications are on their own but most of all, sadly, it means that the drug industry is just another big business who could care less about the public they serve.